Believing the quote that you are born alone, die alone and everything else is an illusion, George doesn’t see the point of life, school, or homework. Then he meets Sally and he now has a reason to go to school and make friends, even if he’s not ready to admit to himself or to her that he likes her. The school’s principal and art teacher introduce him to an alumni, and successful artist, Dustin, who can help guide George along life’s path, but other distractions start surfacing, and George might not even be able to graduate from high school.
User Reviews: A misanthropic, depressed protagonist? Check. A pretty, non-conformist love interest with baggage? Check. An older, cooler rival? Check. A soundtrack filled with indie-rock semi-hits? Jittery camera work? Jump cuts? Check, check, check. Eventually conforming completely to social norms while making it seem like a divine epiphany? Check. The Art of Getting By indulges in every possible cliché of the hipster’s, outsider teenager’s romantic dramedy, and then some. There’s absolutely nothing about it that’s in any way original, genuine and heartfelt; it’s designed especially to appeal to lonely, unpopular teens who may find some solace in this unrealistic, dishonest and hollow fantasy.
The film is executed just well enough to be watchable, even entertaining at times; some scenes are well written and witty by themselves, and the short runtime definitely helps, but it’s not enough. Even at 80 minutes it manages to use every familiar, well-trodden plot point it could come up with; the horrible, awkward performances of Freddie "Charlie Bucket" Highmore and Emma Roberts means that the film doesn’t even have the benefit of likable characters, which is often the saving grace of movies like "(500) Days of Summer". Highmore and Roberts aren’t really bad actors, but they’re horribly miscast and their characters are unlikable and irritating. Unless you’re a sixteen year old boy with no social life and no hope, stay far away from The Art of Getting By.